Bromoform...we filter that.
Bromoform (also known as tribromomethane) is a colorless to yellow, heavy, nonburnable liquids with a sweetish odor. This chemical is a possible contaminants of drinking water that has been chlorinated to kill bacteria and viruses that could cause serious waterborne infectious diseases. Bromoform may form when chlorine reacts with other naturally occurring substances in water, such as decomposing plant material. Plants in the ocean also produce small amounts of these chemicals.
These chemicals are found mainly in water that originally came from surface sources, such as rivers and lakes. Springs and deep drilled wells usually contain very little of the substances that react with chlorine to form these chemicals; therefore, well and spring water is less likely a source of bromoform and dibromochloromethane than water from a reservoir (artificial lake). The amount of bromoform in drinking water can change considerably from day to day, depending on the source, temperature, amount of plant material in the water, amount of chlorine added, and a variety of other factors.
In the past, bromoform was used by industry to dissolve dirt and grease and to make other chemicals. It was also used in the early part of this century as a medicine to help children with whooping cough get to sleep. Currently, bromoform is only produced in small amounts for use in laboratories and in geological and electronics testing.
In the environment, bromoform is not found as pure liquids, but instead, it is found either dissolved in water or evaporated into air as a gas. Bromoform is relatively stable in the air, but reactions with other chemicals in the air cause them to break down slowly (about 50% in 1 or 2 months). Bromoform in water or soil may also be broken down by bacteria, but the speed of this process is not known.
Some studies in animals indicate that exposure to high doses of bromoform or dibromochloromethane may also lead to liver and the kidney injury within a short period of time. Exposure to low levels of bromoform or dibromochloromethane do not appear to seriously affect the brain, liver, or kidneys. Other animal studies suggest that typical bromoform or dibromochloromethane exposures do not pose a high risk of affecting the chance of becoming pregnant or harming an unborn baby. However, studies in animals indicate that long-term intake of either bromoform or dibromochloromethane can cause liver and kidney cancer. Although cancer in humans cannot be definitely attributed to these chemicals, it is an effect of special concern, since many people are exposed to low levels of bromoform and dibromochloromethane in chlorinated drinking water.
How did Bromoform get in my water?
You are most likely to be exposed to bromoform by drinking water that has been treated with chlorine. Usually, the levels in chlorinated drinking water are between 1 and 10 parts of bromoform per billion parts of water (ppb). These are levels that are known to be without adverse health effects. Bromoform has also been detected in chlorinated swimming pools.
Exposure can occur at a swimming pool, by breathing bromoform that has evaporated into the air, or by uptake from the water through the skin. Bromoform is not likely to be found in food.
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